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Requesting tips on long-distance travels with cats

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Next week I'm taking a trip of at least 600 miles with my cat. He's about six months old now. I've been taking him for short rides around town and he's pretty cool with this. He even seems to like it when I park under trees: he enjoys watching birds and squirrels!!

Could someone give me tips on travelling with a cat? I'll have to spend a night on the road (hopefully, I can find a cat-friendly motel, and one at my destination).

I've tried to get Jeremiah out of the car, but he gets awfully tense and nervous, even in a deserted parking space. I'll snap a retractable leash to his harness and just hold him in my arms, but he tends to freak pretty badly. I'd like to be able to let him out of the car as I take breaks from driving, but will not try it until he gets much calmer with it.

Any advice or tips would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 8
First of all - ALWAYS have the cat in a carrier when traveling - not loose in the car to roam around.

Second, I'd not put the cat on a harness and walk it like a dog - too risky of being hurt or escaping.

I'd stop at the rest stops and let the cat roam around a little INSIDE the car and offer some water (no food till you stop for the night). You might also want to set up a small litter box with cover and let the cat use it when stopping.

Most hotels should be cat friendly, but again, keep an eye on your cat and put in the bathroom if you are not there to supervise. Be sure to clean up all litter/evidence that cat was there. Don't put the litter box in the tub - I know some show people that did it and stopped up the drain with litter!

When we showed, we had a little brush/pan we'd clean up the floor of litter so there was no evidence the cats were ever in the room
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks, GoldenKitty, for the tips. I was hoping to get some travel ideas from those who've traveled with cats more than I have. If you've showed cats, you're probably in a good position to do exactly that.
post #4 of 8
I'm guilty of letting Seamus out of his carrier when traveling. We were on a three day trip cross country. He was a champ. When we'd stop for gas, he'd go into the back of the car and use his box. He'd climb easily into his carrier when we'd go into hotels. When we'd pack up in the morning to leave, he'd climb into his carrier voluntarily. Most of the trip he spent on the lap of the passenger, on the luggage in the back, or on the passenger-side floorboards.

As a general rule, Hampton Inns, La Quintas, Super 8s, Red Roof Inns and most Days Inns accept pets. Also the Extended Stay America chain. I also found www.letsgopets.com to be invaluable when it came to finding hotels. And while I"m sure it would be nicer of me to clean up any stray litter, I always figured that's what I was paying the pet fee for.
post #5 of 8
We may discuss if it it wise to let them go out in harness and strap while travelling. There IS some danger of them getting out of the harness yes. But nevertheless it is very wise to let them have harness on - or even harness and strap on - when travelling. Or at the very least the "necklage" with your phone numbers and name - IF they get out and get lost... Many cats get lost if you perhaps were forced to open the carrier - and happened to open the car - perhaps a panicked cad - a short second and they gone... No cat and you on travel....

A idea is to have a big cage, as for dogs. In this you may have the cats igloo=sleeping place, a small litter, water and food. Many cats who dont like travelling in carriers do accept such big cage.
If you dont have station wagon (kombi-car) it is often possible to fell down the back-seat - and have the cage instead of the back-seat.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've about decided not to take Jeremiah's harness off while on the road. I think I'll attach his leash to a fastened seatbelt and let him wander in and out of his carrier as he pleases, with an easily accessible litterbox.

I was hoping to be able to let him wander around in rest areas, on leash of course. Unfortunately, he has freaked out pretty badly when I simply held him at the city park, so I don't think I'll chance taking him outside.

Thanks for the idea of putting down the back seat, StefanZ. I hadn't thought of this, but my cat does seem more relaxed on the back seat. I just wish I could get him a big cage.
post #7 of 8
I have an SUV and my kitty is used to travel now -she's done planes, trains and automobiles, lol

All the tips are helpful - do NOT take your cat outside at a site and keep him in his carrier while on the road. I had a friend lose a cat by allowing him to roam in the cat. He jumped out and ran off when she stopped (tho she persisted and put up flyers in the area she lost him in and almost a year later, she found him!!! That's a story in and of itself but also a cautionary tale).

Bring water, food and treats and have baby wipes to clean up any messes that occur. Check ahead and make reservations and cat friendly hotels so you won't be sleeping in your car because a hotel will not accept you and your cat. Bring some toys. And in the hotel, bring a seperate litter box (also useful for the car - you can asctually make them out of boxes) and if you need to go out of your hotel room, leave him in the bathroom so he won't be able to somehow get out of the room if a maid or other employee comes in. Also, put up a SIGN - WITH large LETTERS - indicating a cat is in the room. I had one experience in which Yin Yin ran down the hall when I was talking to a friendly maid but we managed to catch her.

I like Holiday Inns and they have a Priority Club that you can join that allows youb to stay in floors accessible only by swiping your room card on the elevator. This is more security for you and Jerimiah and one worth considering. I stay at Holiday Inn so often now that they always have a welcome back gift (usually fruit and hot chocolate and some candy). But that means yet another employee will come to turn down the bed. I always leave a tip because the maid will have to clean up cat hair even if Siamese have shorter hair than most kitties.

Other hotels have similar programs. In your room, check out the room BEFORE letting him out of his carrier for open doors or windows and other things not kittyproofed.

Good luck!!!
post #8 of 8
Those little water bottle that are used for hamster cages are good for travel. They can lick them and you don't have to have an open bowl of water in the carrier. If possible, don't stay in hotels that have doors that open to the outside. Crawling around under a semi at midnight, trying to catch a panicky cat is not fun. Play music. If it does not make the howling stop, it will cover it up. Seriously, mine seemed to be calmer with music playing.
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